Head Start donation offers glimpse into program10:00 am | December 11, 2013
Carter County’s Head Start program received a $1,000 head start of its own Tuesday through a donation from the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club, a gift that will help provide support for students and their families.
Family and Community Partnership Coordinator Misty Hammitt said the program provides more than just pre-kindergarten education to the more than 150 children who take part in Head Start each year.
“We work with the entire family,” Hammitt told the Kiwanians. “We provide health and dental screenings. We provide assistance with heat, utilities and clothing. This is where your money comes into play.”
Hammitt said that since Head Start began in Carter County in 1998, the program has helped more than 2,400 families. She said students perform better if they are healthy, well-fed and comfortable, which is part of the reasoning behind the program’s extra assistance to families.
“This touches many lives,” she said. “The money that you help provide does make a difference. We couldn’t do it without you.”
Carter County Head Start is one of only three in Tennessee that is partnered with a school system. She said the partnership helps defray some of the costs that the program would have to pay if it was on its own, such as rent, utilities, staff costs and supplies.
“Students get experiences that not all Head Start students get to have,” Hammitt said.
Parents are encouraged to be a part of the classroom, which encourages the parents to build relationships with the teachers and administrators in their child’s school. Hammitt said it also helps the children feel more comfortable in the school as they progress on to kindergarten.
She said because there are more programs targeting 4-year-old children in the county, the Head Start program is able to take more 3-year-old children into the program.
“Because of that we do have some repeaters who are able to go through the program twice,” she said. “It does make a difference to those students to be able to do that.”